Robin Sainty: Why City fans should look to the future
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
The last couple of weeks have shown that football fans are not as easy to ignore as some of the big club owners thought.
The way in which the plans for a European Super League crumbled in the face of universal hostility from fans in general, and most importantly their own, showed that football clubs are much more than franchises to be used as playthings by the super-rich.
While I don’t think that anyone really believes that the plans for a breakaway league are dead, the fact that the protagonists of the attempted coup have been given a bloody nose is very satisfying.
Watching the owners making grovelling apologies to fans who they had been quite happy to sell down the river a few days before was good to watch, but it only served to emphasise the duplicity at the heart of the project.
It has also focused a lot of people’s minds on the need for fans to have a proper say in the running of their club if the flood of new members to the Canaries Trust in the last week or so is anything to go by.
We are fortunate at Norwich City to have a genuine community club owned by people to whom it is a vocation rather than an investment and there is no imminent danger of the best interest of its fans being compromised.
However, the future can never be accurately predicted and that’s why it’s so important that the fans build a significant stake now, because if it were to pass to an unscrupulous owner in the future it would be much too late to do so.
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If you think that’s alarmist, then just look at Wigan Athletic who prospered under Dave Whelan’s similar style of personal ownership but went into administration shortly after being sold to a Hong Kong-based company in 2018 and have lurched from crisis to crisis since. Nothing should ever be taken for granted in football as the fans of the renegade six clubs have just learnt.
If you’d like to find out more about the Trust and what it does then feel free to check out our website www.canariestrust.org.
As for matters on the pitch, it was good to see City bounce back in some style against an impressive QPR side who have beaten Watford, Swansea and Brentford this season as Mark Warburton builds a side for a promotion challenge next time around.
This was a real test for the Canaries who found themselves up against one of the league’s form teams after two disappointing defeats, and although they had a few anxious moments their victory was well deserved, and notable for the contributions of two players who tend to get less of the spotlight than others.
The first of these was Kenny McLean, who seemed to be everywhere, and the other was Andrew Omobamidele, who once again belied his youth and inexperience to produce another assured performance at the heart of the City defence. He clearly has a very bright future and I suspect that the priority next season will be to get him as much football as possible, which would suggest a Championship loan.
Today will be strange, because not only do we have to endure our ongoing absence from Carrow Road as City hopefully finally clinch their richly deserved Championship title, but the planned weekend boycott of social media in a nationwide protest at the increasing amount of abuse, much of it racist, that is being anonymously aimed at players by cowards behind keyboards will make it even more of an isolated experience for many of us.
However, there is light at the end of the tunnel with 8,000 fans allowed at last week’s Carabao Cup final, the first of many pilot events which will hopefully lead to significant, and hopefully capacity, crowds being allowed back at the start of next season.